Sometimes I get myself into the mindset of It’s up to me. That mindset isn’t all bad. It can get me moving when my lazy self just wants to do nothing. It can remind me of my own problem-solving skills when I want to rely on someone else to swoop down and fix whatever situation I’m in. It even helps me to make an honest choice when my all-too-easygoing attitude wants me to just shrug my shoulders.
But more often, as a pastor who is both a saint and a sinner at the same time, I need to remember that it’s not up to me.
It’s not up to me, at the end of the day, whether someone actually believes what I’m preaching to them. I can only put it out there, the Holy Spirit is the one who brings faith.
It’s not up to me to get the members of my congregation to heaven. I bring the Word — in law and gospel. I comfort them when they’re pressed down and without hope. I afflict them when they’re comfortable with their sins. I encourage them to make use of God’s gifts in Word and Sacrament. But I don’t strengthen them through these things; God does. I just get the privilege of his using me to do it.
And finally, it’s not up to me to somehow perform up to God’s standards. It’s not up to me to do everything right as a husband, father, and pastor. It’s not up to me that everything I want to do and accomplish is what actually happens. If it were up to me, I’d have failed it all miserably long, long ago.
No, those things are up to my Savior. And it’s not like I’m waiting for him to get these things done. Already from the cross he has proclaimed it to me: “It is finished.”
So when I get caught up in my to-do list, I rejoice that my life (with all my failures and shortcomings) is on Jesus’ done list.